Sunday, 17 July 2011

Love Is...

... when your wife says, "I'm looking forward to our game of Warhammer this evening."

Painting by Starr Abbott

Thursday, 14 July 2011

How Can You Have Space Marines in Warhammer Fantasy?

 Well the truthful answer to the question above is, when you're running your own Warhammer Fantasy campaign you can do whatever you damn well want.

My desire to pit Space Marines against Warhammer Fantasy armies came first, but I did give quite a lot of thought to how this could make sense over the years while I was fantasising getting round to it.

It basically comes down to a series of justifications, exploring the "fact" that the Warhammer World definitely sits in the same universe as Warhammer 40,000. Here's a list in no particular order of what we know to prove this and some other tidbits thrown in to substantiate it...
  • The Chaos Gods are the same characters in both games.
  • There are Daemonic Special Characters that appear in both games. They are quite literally the same "people."
  • The Old Ones who built the Lizardmen culture, created Elves and man and brought the Orcs down as spores from space are the same ones who battled the Necrons in 40k and created the races there.
  • The Realm of Chaos and the Warp are the same place.
  • The polar gate the Old Ones created that collapsed,allowing Chaos to enter the Warhammer World, obviously led to the webway which they created in 40k, the means by which Dark Eldar and Harlequins travel the galaxy. 
  •  Maybe Sigmar was one of the lost Space Marine Primarchs.
  • The cataclysm that destroyed the Old One's portal may have been related to the Eye of Terror opening up and the fall of the Eldar or it could have been related to their war with the Necrons and C'tan. 

So I'm satisfied that the Warhammer World is definitely just a planet, floating somewhere in the same universe as Warhammer 40,000.
But is it as simple as that?

No indeedy.

Because there are indications that maybe the events of the Old World take place at a different point in time than the 41st millennium.

The Necron Codex gives a detailed history of the rise and fall of the Old Ones before their eventual destruction, apparently millions of years before 40k's present time.

In the Warhammer rulebook it's only 15,000 years before Sigmar that the Old Ones come to the Warhammer World, leaving again around 5,000 years before Sigmar.

That's only 7,500 years before the present time of the Warhammer World.

Therefore, assuming the Old Ones were active there at the same time as they were active battling the Necrons, then the timelines don't match up. The Warhammer World current events took place in the far distant past.

Now I'd be VERY interested to hear Comments to dispute or confirm these semi-researched principles but surely, you say, I've just talked myself out of being able to have Space Marines crash land on the Warhammer World (as my Knights of Ebon Scar have).

But no!

One of the overarching principles of warp travel in 40k is that of time displacement. There are many tales of ships coming out of the warp hundreds years after they left. Or before. So my Space Marines could easily have got lost in a warp storm and found themselves washed up and crash landed on the Warhammer World.

That's more than justification for me.

And let's face it... like I said; it's just a cool idea I wanted to try out as part of an ongoing narrative campaign, so why the hell not?

The only challenge now is getting the point values right and making sure I keep my narrative descriptions of them firmly lodged in the fantasy milieu. It's just one crashed spaceship full of marines with no more coming so the impact on the Warhammer continuum should be minimal.

Let's wait and see how it develops!

What a traffic jam in a crossover between 40k & Fantasy would look like

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Rules for Space Marines in Warhammer

Well following my first game with Space Marines in Warhammer the other day, I thought I'd post the rules I used and give you my thoughts on the initial playtest.

You can download the army list I used here:

As you can see, I kept pretty much the normal stats across the board.

For the weapons I had two objectives:

  1. It wasn't realistic for explosive bullets from a boltgun to be the same strength as a crossbow so that needed addressing 
  2. I wanted to represent space marines a little more like they appear in the fiction (more powerful than their normal rules) Even if the resepecitve points values needed to be very high (and the army small) as a result, I was keen to go for "realism"most of all
To accomplish this I increased all weapon Strengths by 1. This worked well in the game and more accurately represented their level of power.

Tricky Thing 1: Movement 

Movement was very difficult to decide on and I had a bit of a rethink mid-game.

Although it would be justified to give superfit Space Marines Movement 5, I ended up sticking to 4. For now. I might change that in future. We'll see.

The hard part was jump troops, bikes and Landspeeders.

Bikes and Landspeeders can move 12" in 40k (bikes turbo boosting up to 24"); but in Warhammer you have march moves that makes it tricky and 24" is faster than a flyer. Should an off-road motorbike be able to go faster than an Eagle or Dragon? Faster than a horse? I'm still not sure.

It got just as complicated with jump troops and I must say I still haven't decided the best way forward.

Tricky Thing 2: Points Values

For points I generally about doubled the cost of each model. I wanted to err on the side of charging more for them . My opponent remained convinced that they should have cost more but I'm not so sure. I was up against a small elite Wood Elf army that had sunk a lot of points into a dragon. The dragon did well but the Treeman didn't really do much and my armour saves and massed bolter fire helped me a lot. I am very curious to see how they would fair against a horde army with large ranked up units.

Now THAT would be interesting.

My opponent felt that 3+ saves had no place in a Warhammer game but I disagree. It was a very refreshing change and I'm looking forward to exploring it more in future.

Tricky Thing 3: Special Rules and Vehicles 

So how did we deal with special rules and vehicles?

As much as possible I stuck to normal Warhammer rules; only changing things to keep the flavour of the unit in question.

For example, I kept Rapid Fire for the boltguns, but bear in mind the Marines were penalised for moving and firing and shooting at long range (this really took its toll on their accuracy and made them far more successful as a static army - it would also give a wily opponent an opportunity to outmanoeuvre them).

I gave Assault Marines with two close combat weapons 2 attacks basic, which made sense as the 40k rule for that didn't exist.

I used the Warhammer rule for high Strength giving an armour penetration bonus, which made the marines very vulnerable to high Strength attacks.

For the vehicles I used the 40k rules (after toying with converting them to "creatures," as the Warhammer rules do). My opponent had a great deal of trouble with damaging them - but that's okay. Bows shouldn't be able to bring down a tank or Landspeeder. They just need representative points to reflect the general lack of anti-tank weaponry. But don't forget that Great Weapons, monsters and cannons would all do a fine job at bringing them down.

And that's about it for now.

I don't have another game lined up on the map until the next campaign turn but when I do I'll be further exploring the rules for Space Marines in Warhammer Fantasy.

Next I'll be delving into the background for how I feel I can justify Space Marines turning up on the Warhammer World. 

On a personal note, before I finish, it really is chuffing cool seeing ranked up Space Marines on a movement tray! It was worth the effort just to see my dream come true at last.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Knights of Ebon Scar

Tim (Space Marines) vs Mike (Wood Elves) 

Arodor Naurven, the Scourge of Bloodroot Forest, narrowed his eyes, repositioning himself on the wide neck of his Bloodwood Drake, peering into the mist surrounding the village on the edge of the forest. 

He had thought he'd seen movement but it was unlikely. The village was long dead. His minions had seen to that. Every man, woman and child had been dragged from their dwelling and slain for no more reason than that it pleased him to give the order and see it carried out. 

No. No movement was possible, but he was sure he'd seen... something. 

Even if all that lay beyond the village was the Ebon Scar: the great rift that had formed overnight as a shooting star had sliced a deep swath in the earth.

Then from deep within the circling mist, he heard the growling as from a pack of powerful beasts. But this growling grew louder and louder; far louder than anything he had heard before. Still he could see nothing concrete but he gave flicking hand movements to his troops to take up station in preparedness. And they did, drawing hard on their bowstrings. 

And not a moment too soon. 

From out of the mists came something terrifying and almost outside of his comprehension; something that made no sense to his eyes nor his ears.

At a glance they might have been knights on steeds, but the crimson  armour of these knights was unlike anything he had seen. The beasts they rode roared and sped toward his waiting Elves, pouring out smoke in their terrible wake; churning up the earth as they went. And behind them soared some devilish flying steed. Not dragon or giant bird.

Something else.

Something new.

Surely something conjured by dark sorcery.

Then between the buildings came marching more of the knights, this time on foot, steam issuing from the massive packs on their backs as they came on without pause.

Arodour gave the signal and his Elves let fly their arrows but only one of the knights fell from the volley fire of his entire force, the arrows falling useless against the impenetrable armour of the knights.

The Elves sought out allied faces, questioning and not comprehending. And then the Knights of Ebon Scar raised their weapons, at once similar and entirely different from those born by Dwarf or Empire Handgunner. They opened fire and Arodor began to comprehend the scope of what he was facing.

 Wherever the shots of the Knight's weapons struck, there followed a fiery conflagration of light and noise, an explosion that ripped apart their targets with no hope of survival.

Arodor called for the spiteful hate-filled Dryads that he commanded to dart forward, branch-clawed hands flexing wickedly. No foe could battle for long against they rapid attacks and magical resilience.

But over the rocky outcroppings, more of the Knights came; but these wore massive structures on their backs that bore them up into their air amidst fumes and blasts of noise and power, before they crashed down in amongst the Dryads and hacked them to kindling.

Arodor commanded his Elves to hammer the unspeaking Knights with every arrow in their quivers, but still the Knights marched, uncaring. And they knew no fear. They were implacable.

With a glimmer of fear in his chest, Arodor rode his Bloodwood Drake into the thick of the fighting. The mighty dragon cared nothing for the strange indomitably of these foreign Knights. The power of it and its kind was unequalled in all the Border Princes.It ripped the Knights apart, ignoring the blasts from their weapons, sending them to rout, and Arodor, leapt down from its shoulders to join the battle himself; strike left and right against these new and unknown foes.

The Drake forced back the crimson blades of the enemy, but that was its downfall. Circling it on all sides, the Knights of Ebon Scar let loose a fell and unending volley of fire from their sinister weapons, tearing into the flank of the beast and bringing it down, even as it struggled to get back up; struggled to lash out at its tormentors.

Arodor fell to the side, knowing his doom was upon him; trying to lose himself in the smoke from the ripple of explosions. The Knights were closing in and all he could do now was crawl on his belly away from them, praying to his dark masters that their glowing eyes did not seek him out in the carnage of his dying mount.

All across the battlefield the Elves of his force were crying out in agony as they were cut down and all Arodor could think as he slipped away from it, leaving his men to their fate, was that this new force in the Border Princes was perhaps more powerful than anything he had ever faced before.

More powerful than anyone had ever faced before.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Song of the Massacre on Filigree Plain

Beastmen & Chaos Dwarfs (Tim) vs Ogres (Mike)

From out the woods of Darkest Heart 
Came baying Beasts with weapons high
With horns and cloven hooves and snouts 
And wiry muscles drenched in fur 
The Beastmen came to bring their hate 
Of all things walking unlike them 

And with the Beasts of bowers dark
Came stunted monsters decked in steel 
Once noble and heroic born 
Now only wrong did they begat 
And marching rank on rank in gold 
They came to slake their vicious thirst 

 The Ogre Kingdom of Great Maw 
Besieged by south and west so far 
Now set its shoulders hard to east 
To meet this direst threat 
Twice the height of merest man but no less brutal when at war
The Ogres bellowed challenges 
And charged to test their strength 

Clash of axe and sword and club 
Clash of head and horn 
The Ogres and the Beasts and Dwarfs 
Did quake the earth beneath 
On the Plain of Filigree 
They fought until the dusk 

Battle raged and wounds were cut 
Bodies hewn and crushed 
Sorcery bought greater might 
And summoned nature's wrath
Spawn of Chaos were cut down 
But Beast Gors held their ground

The sun grew near to setting's time 
And still the combat fought 
Neither Ogres, Dwarfs, nor Beasts
Would flee without won war 
For all were animals in mind 
And wanted only death 

 But battles cannot last for long 
With end of day comes end of life 
Armies smashed and then devoured 
As victors rage with bloody lust 
And even well-matched foes must learn 
That one must lose for one to win 

The Beasts and Dwarfs had held the Plain 
And Filigree was theirs to claim 
The Ogres proud and confident
Had lost it all in just one day
Now battered, broken, slain and gone, 
Their Kingdom was at risk

Friday, 8 July 2011

Intriguing News for Fantasy Fans

Thought I'd share this with the world...

The reason I got into Warhammer Fantasy in the first place was because the idea of pitting 40k against Fantasy was kind of exciting.

Did I do anything about it?

No I didn't... until now.

Next week, my good (but occasionally annoying) friend Mike and I will be pitting the Wood Elves of Linwe against the Knights of Ebon Scar.

... also know as Space Marines!

I've gone to some effort to come up with background justification for them being on the Warhammer World and I'm working on the rules for it as we speak. I'll post these when I've got them all sorted (including the army list I'm working from).

Suffice to say; stay tuned and we'll be seeing how Space marines fare against the pointy eared forest dwellers sooner rather than later!

I don't know about you but I can't wait!